Nasa Announces New Mission to Mars in 2018
With NASA’s recent success on Mars with their Curiosity rover, disappointment hit hard when they said the InSight lander would be delayed in December of 2015. This led to rumors that the new mission to mars would be canceled.
Luckily this isn’t the case as NASA confirmed tha the mission will launch sometime in 2018, most likely May. It will arrive on Mars seven months later in November. Join us as we look at the purpose and goals of this exciting mission.
The Goal of NASA’s Mars Mission
The InSight mission stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport is a landed that will drill sixteen feet beneath the surface when it arrives.
Here it will measure Mars’ temperature and study the subsurface makeup of the planet. The original delay was caused by the discovery of a vacuum leak in one of the instruments.
The instrument, known as a Seismic Experiment For Interior Structure (SEIS) measures quakes, meteorite impacts, dust storms, and landslides. With this leak, it wouldn’t have worked on Mars.
Geoff Yoder in Washington, who is the acting associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said “It’s gratifying that we are moving forward with this important mission to help us better understand the origins of Mars and all the rocky planets, including Earth.”
Why The Long Delay?
NASA only launches missions to Mars when the planets align, which makes the trip shorter. This only occurs every 26-months. While this year is also supposed to host a SpaceX mission, the recent rocket explosion may complicate that.
The delay adds an additional $153.8 million to the budget which could lead to fewer missions leading up to 2020. Regardless, this news means that we’ll know a lot more about Mars by the time the decade turns.
What do you think about this mission? Are you excited to learn more about Mars? Let us know in the comments!